Business in Ghana

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Tango With Kumbuor, Critical News, 17th June 2012

Posted by Business in Ghana on June 18, 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford,

This has been a difficult week.  Not for me, but for Koku, Betty, Agbesi, Benjamin, Paa kwesi, (the Amissah Arthur version), Fritz and Togbega Gaabusu of the Gbi Traditional Council.  Togbe Sri and the rest of the Awomefia arrived too late to save the ransacking, stealing of regalia and fighting between the Muslim community and the Indigenes of Hohoe.

I am not sure whether we have an ethnic scuffle or a religious war in Hohoe.  Someone or persons exhumed the body of the Imam and triggered a humanitarian crisis for more than 6,000 people who fled Hohoe.  The retaliations have continued throughout the week and suddenly we are not sure whether our religious and ethnic balance is tilting off center.

And how these skirmishes can affect livelihoods.  Hausa Koko is in short supply in Hohoe.  A word to the wise.

We clearly have clashes of a sort raging in the Municipality, but will we get down to the true cause?  And if we do, will we identify and punish the culprits?  If you do a 360 in Ghana this week, there are strikes in every corner.  Land disputes up north again.  Gruesome murders.  In Fanti land, someone cut off a chief’s head.  It had nothing to do with his being a chief, but a fight over coconuts.  And he took a cell phone as part of his spoils.  Terrible.

So terrible, our President has fallen ill.  The riddle about his silence on the Hohoe rioting and exodus was finally answered on Saturday when he flew off to the US for a “routine medical checkup”.  Is our President truly unwell, I ask?  Then it is time for us to get past the “mokita”.  This word from the Kiriwina tribe in New Guinea aptly describes the situation.  “Truth everybody knows but nobody speaks”.

Now with Koku Anyidoho finally knotchelled, I had my schadenfreude moment.  Reveling in his garbled termination, I come to the conclusion that Minister of Information Fritz Baffour knows too many English words.  He certainly has good diction, without a doubt, but I read the full text at least three times and I still could not figure out whether this was a dismissal or a realigning of roles.  Methinks he can speak the language but cannot write it too well.

Bank of Ghana raised the monetary policy rate to 15%.  The radio stations made a big deal of it, attempting to link it to some interest rate increase or the other. Well, there is none, because if there were, interest rates would have been adjusted by the commercial banks every previous time the BoG changed the rates.  Historically there has been no response and this time will be no different.

What has happened is the cedi has found some stability.  I am on record saying the rate will not go past 2 to 1, cedi to dollar by the end of this year.  The banks are selling dollars for ghc1.90, Forex Bureaus, ghc1.96.   The 91 day T’Bill will now fetch you 21.91% per annum.  By the way, ignore the figure on the Bank of Ghana website home page, it is not up to date, showing the May figure.  And they are the ones who determine the rate.  Inflation rate is up at 9.3%, the Ministry of Finance expects to end the year on 8.5%.  Wahala.

Ghanaweb got into a bit of trouble this week.  They published an article mentioning Betty Mould, who is looking to win one in court.  So far her record has been abysmal, but this one, she would have won hands down.  I checked on the World Wide Web and in Leicester and there is no record of the Leicester Recorder, which purportedly ran a story on a Ghana minister owning several properties in the UK.  There was some mischief making in that one and Ghanaweb pulled the story in less than 24 hours.

Kudos Betty, but what about the CP thing?

Benjamin Kumbour is the Attorney General of Ghana.  He is also the Minister of Justice.  His predecessor, Martin Amidu says he is not fit to be in that office.  I am inclined to agree.  I watched 2 hours of Kan Dapaah v Kumbuor.  Public Accounts Committee v Attorney Generals Department in what should have been a friendly encounter, but turned out be four hours of a bruising fight.  These two parties should be friends since we are all anxious to know who is to blame for all these losses to the State.  Instead, the AG was, in my opinion, rude to the hilt.  He was evasive all the time and did not answer a single question correctly.  I, on the other hand, gave all the correct answers to Kan Dapaah’s questions.  It was like participating in “What do you know” at home, in front of the TV.

I find it most unfortunate that here we are in the midst of a governance crisis, but I feel we are finally getting our institutions to accept blame for their foibles and yet we are pitching forks and digging our heels in on simple questions.  What is becoming clear is how most documents to support big decisions are not available from Civil Servants.  I saw one piece of paper cited as the only document between the AG and Cabinet on a case that has raged for decades in the courts of Ghana and Internationally.  Clearly someone is lying about not being able to find papers and in my view it is the AG’s office.

Dr. Kumbuor need not have been evasive.  He only inherited what had gone on before he was appointed after Amidu.  The PAC only wanted to know if he had reviewed the paperwork on the CP case and whether he thought the former AG, Betty Mould had derived the right result from all the decisions and reviews he had read.  But in no mood to subject himself to what he thought was an attack on his person and integrity, he hunched down and fought every question from the Committee.  It was so wrong.

He also obnoxiously refused to give the PAC a copy of a document he claimed was from the International Court of Arbitration on the judgment debt related to CP.  It seemed he was the only one with that document in the country and he blatantly refused to give it to the Clerk of Parliament, on the grounds that they would lose it. I paraphrase him, “It is available on the internet for a fee”.

Should we continue to countenance such arrogance and contempt in the Attorney General of this country?  Not only is this becoming a canker, his credibility is being questioned.  Did he lie about the gunshot in his car?  Did he lie about the ICC report?  Can we rely on him to tell us the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?  He was on oath in Parliament.  Can we trust?

Oh, I forget.  The prosecution has opened its case against Alfred Agbesi Woyome.  Many are those who say it is all a set up, he will walk.

Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

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